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TIP OF THE DAY: Invent Healthy Recipes

Two of our index cards combine in this
salmon-avocado salad. Photo courtesy Whole
Foods Market. Get the recipe.

Over the last month, one million people searched Google for “healthy recipes.”

You can search, and you can buy healthy recipe cookbooks.

But you can also invent your own recipes; and use the occasion as a teaching game for the family. (Plan now to start playing next weekend.)

Here’s the game:

1. Announce the rules: First, each family member develops a list of healthy foods. (If your children are old enough, they also need to know why it’s a healthy ingredient—as do adult participants.) The person with the most gets a prize, to be determined by you. The family will gather on [date] and [time] for the next leg.

2. Next, everyone brings his or her list to the dinner table (or other place and time you designate) and take turns reading them out. You place each new food item on a separate index card. (For example, only make one card for brown rice, even if everyone has it on his/her list.)

3. Here’s the hard part: You have to know if an ingredient is healthy so you can keep it or reject it. For example, cacao, the base of chocolate, has great health properties; but not when mixed with sugar! If you don’t know, make looking it up part of the game.

4. Now that you have ingredients, it’s onto the next leg: creating recipes from them. Spread the cards out on the table so everyone can see them. Go around the table, asking each person in turn to suggest a combination of ingredients and a recipe (for example, grilled fish, grape and red onion tacos). Write the suggested recipe on a pad, along with the name of the person who suggested it.

5. Finally, you get to make the recipes. Print out a calendar and place the recipes on specific days of the month (it’s easier to plan the meals).

6. After each healthy recipe is made, vote on whether it goes, stays or needs to be revised. Take the time to reinforce why the recipe is healthy, and which ingredients are the healthiest. Mark on the calendar which recipes are “winners.”

7. At the end of 30 days, tally the winning recipes and declare a winner. Now, you can start the process over again.


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